The repeated force of foot hitting ground during a run can be incredibly jarring, and the wise runner must select a shoe especially suited to his or her foot type to reduce the sometimes injurious effect. Feet come in many shapes and sizes, and depending on the arch, a foot has the tendency to tilt inward or outward. This is the first thing to look for when buying running shoes.
Arches are either high, normal, or flat. If it isn't obvious which type a foot is just by looking at it, there is a simple test to determine this key factor. Put a few sheets of paper on the floor, wet the foot to be tested and take a step on the paper. How does it look? If there is no indication of an inner curve, most likely the arch is flat. If the inner curve is definite with an extremely narrow band on the outside, the arch is high. A few lucky runners will see an inner curve, but the middle portion of the foot imprint indicates only a moderate curve.
Flat arches cause feet to overpronate. That is, when the foot hits the ground, it first strikes with the outside of the heel and rolls inward more than it should. This foot type requires a shoe that helps maintain stability and control to prevent overuse injuries. The overpronator should look for shoes with a solid, firm midsole when buying running shoes.
High arches cause feet to supinate. That is, when the foot hits the ground, it it rolls outward instead of inward, which reduces the amount of shock absorption. The supinator should stay away from motion control and stability shoes, and instead select a shoe designed to absorb more shock when buying running shoes. The sole should be flexible, with a softer softer cushion that allows the foot to move.
Those with normal arches can wear just about any shoe, but should probably shoot for a shoe without extra control or stability since the normal arch produces the ideal amount of pronation. Comfort and size are the biggest factors for a runner with a normal arch.
It is even more essential for a runner carrying extra weight to pay attention to the details when buying running shoes. Already a jarring activity, running with excess weight exacerbates any issues with pronation or shock absorption because the impact is so much greater. Always try shoes on and test them out in the store. They should be the proper size, feel comfortable, and improve a runner's stride.